Soon we will be coming up on the busiest time of year at gun ranges. General hunting season doesn’t open in Texas until November, but many shooters travel to states to hunt using firearms as early as September. When gun ranges become crowded, I pack up my gear and leave. With so many shooters in one small area, it seems the odds of an accident must be higher.
Like many folks, I love to shoot and do so regularly. By shooting often, it improves skills that ultimately will increase the likelihood of a good ethical shot. My favorite and most productive time at the gun range is early morning. Typically, I have the entire place to myself and winds are light. It is the perfect time to try out different ammunition and perfect shooting skills. Many times I am finished and gone before another shooter even shows up. No safety concerns, no waiting on others before changing targets and the barrage of gunfire isn’t present to distract me.
Crowds continue to grow at gun ranges until the day before deer season. I have seen virtually every bench occupied with people waiting their turn to shoot. How could this be a good time to make sure your firearm is sighted in and just as important, how could it be enjoyable?
Years ago when teaching my children how to shoot, they really brought it to my attention. Children (at least most I know) love to shoot and are eager to go to the range. It is important to teach them how to shoot properly, handle firearms responsibly and to be aware of their surroundings. When crowds were present my kids not only didn’t want to go, they absolutely refused. It was then that I became aware that we had raised some pretty responsible kids.
Next time you head to the gun range, take the time to observe how other shooters practice gun safety or how they don’t. Keep an eye on the shooter that can’t even get on paper, no matter how many shots they fire. Look for the person that doesn’t leave their action open during a cease-fire or the person that doesn’t ALWAYS point their gun in a safe direction. When ranges become crowded you will see these things and more. But you won’t see me.
It is always a good idea to make sure your rifle is sighted in prior to hunting. Mine is and once it is shooting where I want it, I store it securely in a case to minimize the possibility of it getting off target. Upon arrival at my hunting destination I simply need to shoot one time to confirm that the point of impact hasn’t changed.
No matter what you shoot or where you hunt, gun safety is the most important thing to practice. Unfortunately, lots of people have been killed with an unloaded gun. Make sure and check your firearm and double-check it. Many times hunters and serious shooters become complacent and a tragedy occurs. All firearm owners have a responsibility to themselves and others. This season when you head to your hunting area with your children, co-workers, dog or anyone else, make sure you all return safely.